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Why Sunset Overdrive Can Go Suck A Lemon
Posted on Monday, July 14 2014 @ 13:59:46 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.


Yesterday, while cleaning up my media center, I found my copy of Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, which I bought sometime before Christmas last year. I had been pretty excited about this game pre-release, what with it being the first "traditional", albeit shorter than usual, Ratchet & Clank game since A Crack In Time, but since I had just gotten a PS4 on launch and then left during the holidays, I pretty much forgot it even existed. But when I found it yesterday, the excitement came right back. Finally, a real Ratchet & Clank game to wash the awful taste of All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault out of my mouth. God those games were garbage.

I'm sorry to say, while Into The Nexus is much better than either of those games, it's still a massive disappointment. It's enough of a disappoint to kill any interest I might have had for any project of Insomniac's, including the much-hyped Sunset Overdrive.

Let's start by taking a look at what Into The Nexus does to disappoint me this much. First of all, the new control scheme is horrible. Prior games in the series used a very clever auto-aim system, in which you concentrated more on precise acrobatics rather than accurate aiming, essentially having the player focused on dodging the often ridiculous number of projectiles flying towards them, while the weapons themselves were very easy to use, with either large areas of effect or homing projectiles. In Into The Nexus, you have to aim the guns yourself like any other third-person shooter, but the camera needs to stay zoomed out because you still also need to jump around like crazy to avoid projectiles, which, of course, throws off your aim since the reticule stays in the middle of the screen.

So you end up either missing a lot and running out of ammo or alternating between shooting and dodging, which makes most of the tougher fights take way longer than they should. Most importantly, fighting large or airborne enemies makes you unable to see the ground properly, and since the ground is where most attacks are telegraphed, you'll often get hit by attacks you couldn't possibly have dodged. This doesn't make the game particularly hard - I still finished it in five hours on normal - just frustrating.

To make matters even worse, the story is an absolute cop-out. I was promised a conclusion to the Future arc, if not the definite ending of the series. Instead, I got the latter half of a game that doesn't exist. Why is Ratchet suddenly in charge of a prison ship? Who the **** is Vendra? What did she do? How did she get caught? If she's so dangerous, why are Ratchet, Clank, Cronk, Zephyr and the plumber the only personnel aboard the ship? And perhaps more importantly, when did the mother****ing Great Clock explode? After the intro, I expected a flashback to explain all of that, but nope. That's all you get. And the nature of the villains is explained about as much as ****ing Necron from Final Fantasy IX. Oh, and the lombaxes? Ratchet apparently just doesn't give a **** anymore. Apparently, neither does Insomniac.

But the worst thing is the laziness. You'd think that, making a five-hour game, they'd at least make every part of it unique. NOPE. All bosses, except for one in the middle and the final one, is copy-pasted three or four times. You'll fight the exact same enemies on each of the five planets. The nether mini-games with Clank and the anti-grav sections, both genuinely interesting additions to the game, just vanish around mid-game and only come back during the final boss, like they forgot that those mechanics were in the game halfway through development.

Since childhood, I have always been a huge fan of Insomniac. I basically learned English playing Spyro 2 and 3, Ratchet & Clank is the first PS2 game I bought on launch day, and is my favorite franchise on the system. Resistance and Tools of Destruction were among the first games I bought along with my PS3. But they've been slipping for years now. All 4 One was a travesty, not because it was different but because it was a buggy, unplayable mess, Full Frontal Assault had the same control issues as Into The Nexus and was largely boring, and Fuse was just uninspired, boring garbage. Even as I hated these games, I made excuses for Insomniac. It's okay if All 4 One is ****, they've never made a co-op game like this. It's fine if Full Frontal Assault is bland. Tower defense is just not my cup of tea. Overstrike looked really nice. Evil EA must have made them change it to that Fuse trash.

But now, with Into The Nexus, they go back to what they do best. What they've done flawlessly since 2002. And they still **** it up. What conclusion can I draw from this, other than all the actually talented people have left Insomniac some time after A Crack in Time and Resistance 3?

Now, I've seen the Sunset Overdrive videos. They do look really cool. But in a five minute video, so did Overstrike and Fuse. So did Into The Nexus. I want to be excited about Sunset like so many people are. I want to say "I'll buy an Xbox One just for Sunset." I also want to be excited for the Ratchet & Clank reboot on PS4. But I can't. Not anymore. Because Insomniac is making them.

And thinking that makes me so sad.
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